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Screen Production Workshop - Jim Anderton Speech

4 December 2001 Hon Jim Anderton Speech Notes

Screen Production Workshop

9 am

4 December 2001

Te Papa


New Zealanders are the most creative and innovative people in the world.

We saw this recently in the Global Entrepreneurial Monitor Study which said that New Zealand is one of the most entrepreneurial nations in the world.

In July I visited the set of Lord of the Rings.

I was surprised to discover it was being made and edited in a few anonymous buildings in Wellington.

The special effects in this movie are equal to anything that’s ever been done before, and it’s has all been achieved by kiwi ingenuity.

I met Peter Jackson and the Los Angeles movie moguls who are under-writing the film.

The movie studio representatives told me that Hollywood would not have been able to make a movie in Hollywood anything like the one Peter Jackson is making in Wellington New Zealand.

Many of the staff making props and costumes had never worked on a feature film before.

They came from all over New Zealand where we’re used to solving problems with pieces of number eight wire.

One of the Americans said to me, “The concept of impossible is unknown to New Zealanders.'

The government has recognised the potential of Lord of the Rings by allocating nearly $5 million of extra funding for projects to capitalise on the project.

These projects were announced by the Prime Minister on November 7 and are part of having a broad range of initiatives to make sure we capture the maximum benefit for tourism, the New Zealand film industry and international understanding of this country’s exceptional creative talent and technology.

These projects include, promotional activities at premieres, supplements in leading film trade magazines, hosting overseas journalists and additional print runs of maps identifying New Zealand as the Home of the Middle Earth.

This morning my colleague Pete Hodgson announced further Government initiatives to maximise the benefits for New Zealand from the forthcoming release of The Lord of the Rings movies.

The further projects announced were:

- A New Zealand screen industry production guide for international use, providing information on locations, infrastructure, film investment opportunities and New Zealand productions.

- Promotional videos highlighting New Zealand talent, innovation and creativity.

- Expansion of the Film NZ website into a comprehensive window on New Zealand film, film investment and tourism promotion.

- Lord of the Rings themed New Zealand stands at upcoming international film trade markets.

- Technology and innovation workshops in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Seattle, showcasing New Zealand’s postproduction and digital effects capabilities.

- An inward investment mission, bringing key decisionmakers in the international screen production industry to New Zealand to promote film opportunities.

- A New Zealand reception at Oscar-time for senior US and other filmmakers to promote New Zealand as a production location.

The total budget for these new initiatives is $875,000. A small number of further projects are still under consideration.

Industry New Zealand and the Ministry of Economic Development will carry out an economic impact assessment of this strategy by May 2002.

I am pleased to be part of a Government that is taking up the challenge of helping New Zealanders make better films and television productions, and not just because I watch at least one movie a week.

I have seen many fantastic special effects. What I saw at Weta Studios in Mirimar was better than any I have seen before.

I have also seen many entirely local but smaller-budget films.

I continue to be impressed by what New Zealanders can offer to creative industries such as film and television.

We need to harness our creativity and unleash it in every industry, in as many companies and individuals as possible.

This is a message I wish I could spread to every young New Zealander.

The screen production industry, as part of the creative industries is one of the areas this Labour Alliance Coalition Government has selected to realise its potential to create more jobs through sustainable development.

Other industries I am working with include wood processing, manufacturing, tourism, textiles, clothing and footwear.

The Lord of the Rings, as a case in point, shows what can be achieved.

There’s employment - thousands of people were employed during the shoot, in production and as extras, and also during the postproduction period.

There is the regional development aspect - the films were shot all over the country at more than 40 regional locations.

We still have no idea of the extent of the boost to tourism through highlighting New Zealand’s scenery.

There are the spin-offs for your industries in terms of creating a larger and more skilled workforce, the showcasing of your abilities, locations and facilities to the world and the confidence the project has given you. This will have a huge benefit.

However there is another reason for working with film companies and that is the importance of having strong and vibrant artistic industries.

As you are all aware your medium is a powerful force in shaping a sense of who we are as New Zealanders.

You are a vital influence in shaping our cultural identity. A strong screen production industry is vital for this.

The New Zealand film and television industries have international reputations, established through the quality of their people, programmes and films.

In the last financial year the Film Commission’s sales agency had gross sales of more than $4 million compared with $1.1 million the previous year.

Here today are representatives of television production companies whose programmes have had international sales success and awards.

It is up to you to provide the leadership which will make this industry grow.

I can make the same promise I have made to other key industries for New Zealand’s future, and that is that this Government is prepared and ready to work constructively with you.

We will work with you in partnership. I see and recognise the value of what you do for New Zealand and New Zealanders.

We need to identify the barriers to growth and target the opportunities that will allow screen production businesses to grow.

This workshop today is an important starting point.

Industry New Zealand, which has organised this day, will play a key role in co-ordinating the “whole of government” all relevant government agencies to work with you.

Representatives of those agencies are here today. They are: Rob Arlidge from Industry New Zealand; Jane Kominik, deputy Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Kerry Harvey, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Policy Projects Manager.

Also we have Tim Thorpe from the Ministry for Economic Development.

The rest of the day is yours to work with each other and government representatives to see how we can make gains for your industry and for our country.

I see you have a packed agenda which addresses many key issues.

I look forward to seeing what you achieve and working with you on the results to develop further opportunities for your industry.

Thank you for attending.

Thank you for what you are already doing for New Zealand, and also what you are and will achieve for all New Zealanders.


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